I still remember our 2nd Hyundai in our family is the Elantra. The Elantra paled the Japanese cars in the same class in terms of looks and has a more sporty styling. We went to the Hyundai dealership but the Elantra is not officially in the showroom yet. We had to go to the workshop behind the showroom where they parked the one and only Elantra for potential customers to view the car. My father signed the papers almost immediately trading his Stellar for the first generation Elantra. The year was 1991 and we are one of the first few who signed on the dotted line. I still keep the Elantra brochure even till today. The price was $49,888 then and our registered plate was SBQ2043A.
For the first 3 months, our maroon Elantra are considered exclusive on the road. A guy even walk towards us and commented "nice car, what car is it?". The Elantra presence was felt when a few hundred units rolled out from the showroom in its first year.
A year later, a 1.5 litres version was introduced into Singapore market. The base Elantra was a few thousand dollars cheaper and had a more basic trim level. Another year in its production span, a face lift model was launched. The cosmetic changes on the front and rear made it looked totally fresh. Some thought that Hyundai had gone overboard on the design but I thought the face lifted Elantra is the best looking Elantra of all times, much better than the original one which we had. Hyundai cars in the 90s had the tradition of doing dramatic changes on their face lifted models. The last one I recalled is the Sonata 2 generations ago which you could mistook it as a Jaguar X-Type viewed from the rear when it was face lifted in 2005. It was better looking than its original guise but somehow, it lost its identity. That is also the time when I started to slide away from Hyundai. Who loves a copy cat?
First generation Hyundai Elantra made by Kingstar in Korea. The scale is 1/35 and it is a pullback toy car. I bought this when I was in Japan 6 years ago. You heard me correct, Japan. I was so excited as my father owned this car during the early 90s and I like to have a toy model of any car which had a connection in any way.
Most Kingstar or Clover Toys (Another Korea toy maker which made Korean cars) has opening features. Most common features are the doors and the boot. It is kind of cool for a toy car able to open its boot because many toy cars do not have this feature.
This is a Hyundai Scoupe made by Kingstar as well and it is slightly larger at 1/32. This should be the most expensive Korean toy car I paid among my Korea car collection. You might be wondering what the hell a Scoupe is doing in my Elantra article. Believe it or not, this car used to be my dream car when I was young then. This is the first coupe Hyundai had in its range before the Hyundai Coupe was launched in 1996. The car had a 1.5 litres engine and it looked faster than it runs. The car was based on a Hyundai Excel (Sonnet or Pony in some markets) and there is a sun roof option available. It is also the first Hyundai in Singapore that comes with a sun roof.
When I first met the Hyundai Scoupe (pronounced Ess-Ko-Pay, not Scopee or Scope) in the Hyundai showroom when we are there to see the Elantra, I took more glances at the Scoupe than the Elantra. The showroom had an Excel and a yellow Scoupe with a sun roof. I asked my father to buy the Scoupe instead of the Elantra and I reasoned out that it was about 8 to 10 thousand cheaper than the Elantra. The car was cool with a sun roof, 2 doors and it is in my favourite color. My father did not go my way because he dislikes 2 doors and yellow. He told me that he will buy me one if I scored good grades in my studies. That never happen not because I didn't perform in my studies but I didn't had a driver's licence then. It will be many years down the road before I can register myself for basic theory test. Whenever a Scoupe passed by on the road, it never failed to turn my head regardless of any colour. 20 years had passed and I was surprised to see one White Scoupe running past my yellow YRV turbo on the highway. I was excited that a Scoupe still exist today as most old cars are scrapped (especially Korean cars) based on our system in Singapore.
Hyundai in the 90s had sloping front and curvy lines as compared to Japanese cars which are still a little boxy then.